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The Journal Editorial Report

News/Business. Paul Gigot discusses news, politics, society and finance. (CC) (Stereo)

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Obama 9, Paul 7, United States 7, Libya 6, Us 4, Israel 3, Cairo 3, U.s. 3, Islam 3, America 3, China 3, Mary 3, Iran 2, Syria 2, Duracell 2, Olay 2, Dan Henninger 2, Bill Clinton 2, Dan 2, Benghazi 2,
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  FOX News    The Journal Editorial Report    News/Business. Paul Gigot discusses news,  
   politics, society and finance. (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 15, 2012
    8:00 - 8:30pm PDT  

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of violent protest. they are told to bord a commercial plane and get out. justice janine responding. and that is how fox reports on the saturday. >> this week on the journal editorial report. mayhem for the middle east, and protests rage across the arab world. what did the attacks say about the the obama administration's foreign policy. and was mitt romney wrong to criticize the response? plus, as the presidential race kicks into high gear, will the presidential post convention bounce last? rumors of the republican tickets demise premature? welcome to the journal editorial report. i'm paul gigot. anti-american protests spread
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across the arab world this week over a film in defense of islam and the prophet muhammad following the murder thursday of four american diplomates. including united states ambassador chris stevens in benghazi, libya, in what officials believe was a terrorist attack designed to coincide with the anniversary of september 11th. and joining us dan henninger, mary anastasia o'grady and, with the anti-american protests across the arab world this week, tell us about our standing in that part of the world, and the ferment in arabia? >> well, i think, paul, what's happening here is where essentially we came in when the arab spring began in egy egypt, tunisia and spread to other countries and the feeling at that time that came out the united states couldn't
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really support any of these movements in the arab spring because quote unquote, we don't know who these people are, which is to say that the united states, and including the state department, just was not that engaged with these countries at that time. now, when you think of how, to what extent egypt or libya since these transitions have been in the news, it's been basically not at all on their own, and still a piece with the obama administration's policy on foreign policy, to lower america's direct engagement rather than let international institutions deal with it. what we're seeing is the result of the united states, kind of the not withdrawing entirely, but pulling back from its engagement with the transitional government. >> mary, i think the administration would say, look, we liberated and they got there if first, but we were participants and our military assets were crucial, decisive, and so, we weren't
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as passive as dan suggested. >> well, i think that we can't forget that there is a, you know, an intellectual stream in the middle east that pants to restore this idea of a tyranny to islam and that may be a total small percent of the population, but it's easy to engage the larger amount in this violence if you can find something to gin it up and i think that it's very clear that it was not an accident that this happened on september 11th. this is sort of the agenda and they're not going to give up. when we had the attacks on september 11th, we knew this was going to be a very long war. >> and the former pakistani ambassador to the united states, and a friend of ours, wrote in the wall street journal, this is about the youtube video and this is just an excuse. this is about the battle inside islam for the control of these countries. do you buy that? >> in the battlam
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the last 20, 30 years, with the revolution. and you have mobs in the streets incited by perceived grievance on the american flag. what's new you no longer have authoritarian government that plays to egypt, yemen and elsewhere. now, i think the real test here is for these new governments. libya and yemen to their credit and governments there reacted very well and they apologized. they moved forces in, and i think there's great regret in libya, and great pre-american sentiment, but the question is about egypt, the most important one. >> it's the biggest and most important. >> and supporting the democrat's position there and backed morsi the muslim brotherhood leader and there was a big delegation last week in cairo of american business leaders and want to forgive their debt. >> we agreed to forgive a billion dollars worth of debt last week. >> and we have this sort of get congress to pass off on that still. >> it's going to be harder after this week, but the
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question is, i think, to dan's point is that half american pa seivety, we can't influence the events and if we try too hard we'll be accused of meddling, so, we have to step back and i've had people who understand what's going on in libya say that by stepping back in libya we've let the ka f qataris and the saudis-- >> and we do have leverage that we're not using it as well as it could be. >> yes, but, i think, matt, the idea of stepping back is perceived as weakness and it's perceived as a sort of a disinterested united states, a disinterested president obama who is not going to engage, you know, and the very fact that the libyan embassy was left so unguarded, it really raises questions about the way the president's views our
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vulnerability in that part of the world. >> and the egyptian president, a basket case. >> the egyptian economy. and an as a result there are so many unemployed young people, about 78%, and morsi has to engage with the rest of the world to raise his economy. and i think that is going to be a complicated process. some nation has to lead the rest of the world in trying and that would be the united states. it isn't going to just happen on its own. somebody has to exercise leadership. >> meanwhile, the other big event this week is the argument, public argument between israel and prime minister benjamin netanyahu and the united states over how firmly to draw so-called red lines against iran's nuclear program. it was an hour long phone call one evening this week between netanyahu and obama seemed to have calmed the latest furor down. what message does that send to our foes in the middle east
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that we're fighting with our allies. >> and we've never had a contentious relationship with the israelis that we have right now. and as we treat israel, you know, the foes say this is not a country serious about being the leader of the world and it is, a lot of people in this country think that the power on the decline in the region and the message is that we're not willing to step up into a role in that world and sort of shape an outcome more conducive to peace and prosperity. would not seem, mary, to encourage any strength on the part of iran if it sees us fighting with israel? >> and it probably wasn't helpful for netanyahu to meet with romney the way that he did, because i think-- >> romney's visit recently to-- >> because i think that obama is a little annoyed about that. he sees it clearly who netanyahu would-- >> but the two did work together. mckenziey, earlier it in their
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career, they worked. and so they do have a relationship. >> yeah, i think there's a little bit of this-- president obama's engaging a little bit of payback there. >> paul: all right. still ahead, as events in the middle east take center stage in the presidential race, we'll look at how the candidates responded to this week's events and which campaign has more to lose, in campaign has more to lose, in
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>> american leadership is still sorely needed in. face of this violence, america cannot string from the responsibility to lead. american leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don't spin out of control. we cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region, to support those who share our values and our interests. >> paul: that was governor mitt romney responding to tuesday's assaults on the
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consulate in benghazi and romney came under criticism for the initial response to the violence there. the statement released shortly before egyptian protesters stormed that embassy's compound read in part, quote, the embassy of the united states in cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims. as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. so, matt, you were critical this week of mitt romney's response to the events. how so? >> i think there's a very hamhanded response. it was happening, you could quibble with the embassy statements, i think i would, although we're not in that building at the time it's issued and trying to calm down the rampaging mob outside of your walls. the problem here, the story is not the embassy statement, the story are the attacks on u.s. missions overseas. and i can understand the impulse to try and step in
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there with a campaign blow, but to do it in the way that he did it in the middle of the events as they were unfolding, while he not spend time at all talking about foreign policy through the campaign made it seem a little knee jerkish. >> paul: was it what he criticized? should he have had a larger target there with a larger obama foreign policy or the fact na he decided to criticize on foreign policy at all. >> he tried to sort of walk back from this today, later in the week, tried to do a broader critique of the obama foreign policy and that's perfectly fine. but to jab the president in the eye while americans are being killed overseas would not go down well. >> and democrats never did that to george bush, right? you know, the thing is that you have to look the at what the state department said at that time in the context of what the overall obama policy has been, foreign policy had been which has been to
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apologize. he had the apology tour in 2009 he was in cairo and even henry kissinger came out the other day and said we cannot as a government apologize for what these people construe as a provocation if our government was no way involved. i think romney was completely within his rights to express the failure of the embassy on that point. >> i take matt's point about the nature of the statement. it was a little bit, i thought it was legitimate quite frankly, we're in a presidential campaign and oh, my gosh, politics. >> how dare they talk about a presidential responsibility like, say, foreign policy. >> but, while it is true that romney has not been talking about it, it's also true that neither one of these candidates want to deal with foreign policy in in campaign. barack obama as we've said on this program previously is the president who wanted to put the world on the back burner until after the election specifically what has been going on in syria. now the world has forced itself upon both of these
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candidates and mitt romney at that point was not prepared to talk in a broader context, and this subject deserves to be addressed by a challenger for the american presidency. >> paul: so you're thinking, saying maybe he should have waited a day and then put this in a little larger context, which is really the position, the declining position of america and the world, after four years of the mitt romney presidency? >> i think the campaign can very much use a much more generalized address by mitt romney, criticizing barack obama's approach to foreign policy right now. >> but, even on simple political terms, being scene as saying-- we've said it's our fault that we're being attacked, isn't going to go down well. and the thing-- >> he didn't really say that. >> and that's his way of apologizing about the fact, especially by independent voters who has to convince, but more importantly is, the timing of it was terrible. he embargoed the statement, it was a 9/11 and he said i will not due campaigning on 9/11,
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he embargoed the statement until after midnight and they broke their own embargo and put it out on 9/11 and got in this sort of whole world, which they didn't need. >> mary, what about the differences between-- the real differences between romney foreign policy and obama foreign policy on the middle east. a couple of his advisors said, romney's advisors said those would include different earlier red lines on iran, helping the opposition in syria, with a lethal weapons if need be through arab intermediate arearies, and a stronger line with egypt. if you don't pull that, we'll pull american aid. >> as dan says, they've not talked much about foreign policy and one of the reasons why, president obama-- i'm sorry, candidate romney does not want to talk about foreign policy is he's afraid of being somehow connected with the bush administration, which, you know, engaged in two wars and so forth. i think he could get around that problem by saying, look,
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i want to be, you know, we are as dan says, the world leader, but i am going to break with this idea of nation building. because that's the one thing that i think that americans really disapproved of. they don't mind, you know, the u.s. asserting its power and being a leader in the world, but for heaven's sake, we could the not build a nation in haiti, which is just off our coast and you know, a much smaller, and we're going to reform and create a society in afghanistan? people are not interested in that and i think that is how he could break with the bush administration. >> dan, briefly, is the u.s. strong stronger weaker, its position in the world four years after this president came to office? >> i think it's weaker relative to what's going on in the nis and asia, china, the out china sea in japan. red lines matter and every morning nations get up and calculate will it can step across the red lines or not. and i think the lower profile of the united states allowed
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iraq and china to step forward in a dangerous way. >> all right, dan, thank you all. when we come back, despite the turmoil in the the middle east, it went on with obama enjoying a post convention poll bounce and [ female announcer ] to get a professional cleansing system you could spend as much as $200. olay says challenge that with an instrument that cleanses as effectively as what's sold by skin professionals for a whole lot less. olay pro x advanced cleansing system.
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>> events in the middle east may have dominated the news this week, but here at home the presidential campaign went on with president obama making the fund raising stops in las vegas wednesday night and enjoying a poll bounce since the democratic convention in charlotte. will it last? and what does mitt romney need to do to counter it. we're back with dan henninger,
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jing the fray, political dryry and washington columnist kim strassel. you predicted the bounce on the shn your prediction hat again and tell us how long is this bounce going to last? and really, how far behind is mitt romney? >> well, i think that all depends on mitt romney. this is tied to the convention, prior to the start of the democratic convention, mitt romney had basically fought president obama to a draw in the polls and now, it looks as though the president has anywhere from a 4 to 6 point lead in national polls and it seems that he did that by, at the conventions, drilling in on the things that voters matter and care about most, the economy, he managed to make the argument that mitt romney should not be trusted with the economy and that -- to reassure votesers that he can, and you see that in the polls in terms of people's views of their ability to handle the economy and this is mitt romney's challenge going
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forward. can he go out there and make people regain the trust that he can regain the economy. >> paul: the polls show after mitt romney picked ryan, the gap closed from 3, 4, 5, maybe more, right to even after the conventionings, opened right back up to where it was. >> and not just nationally, but in some key state polls, wall street journal has a new poll out. in o-o and virginia, 5 point plus lead in those states and romney cannot concede those states, has to win two at them if not all three. >> paul: do you share kim's analysis, why obama got the conventi convention bounce, it was rooted into different presentations of the economic argument? >> i think that obama campaign put out a narrative that people are buying, to what extent it's the president's fault and romney has to do a
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better job. >> paul: and what is the narrative. >> well, bill clinton laid it out. >> paul: what is it? >> he said that president obama inherited a mess, that obama's policies made sure it didn't get any worse, but that no one could have gotten us back to normal, even him. >> on the the path of-- >> and it makes no sense to return the keys to the white house to the people who got us in the mess. >> and linking romney with bush in a lot of people's minds. >> full disclosure on last week's program i think certainly, and neither felt that neither convention did much to elevate their candidate. obama has gotten a much bigger bounce i think that is anybody was predicting a week ago from this. another event that happened, which is that wesleyan university media project measured the advertising going on from august 26th to september 8th through the convention and the obama campaign ran 40,000 ads against the romney campaign's
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18,000 ads in those swing states and they flooded the zone with anti-romney ads, specifically attacking mitt's tax plan and i think that sort of thing at that moment truly could have some effect on the polls. >> if you look at gallup's results, they showed that the mitt romney's convention speech was the least well received in modern history. 38% liked it, versus 52, if i recall correctly, for john mccain's speech four years earlier which was not exactly a barn burner. >> i certainly agree with kim that in the absence of romney, counter acting both that barrage of ads, clinton attack and everything else, with anything more substantive than he gave, it's not surprising that he's fallingen off. >> and this is the thing, kim. the romney speech was fundamentally biographical. it was an attempt to repair his image particularly with independents and women who say i'm a nice guy. i'm really, you know, i do a lot of charity, i like women,
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i i appoint him to high positions in massachusetts, but it didn't explain economic policy. it didn't say in specific detail what his plan would do and why it's better. particularly the the tax plan, position, why dan pointed out it's sunday so much attack and in contrast, bill clinton laid out in partisan terms, but of course these speeches are partisan, but he explained why he thinks obama's plan is better. >> and no, look, the romney campaign is going to have to connect the dots here at some point and go back to the last time that president obama had this lead, it was when mitt romney was running this biographical campaign, a referendum against the president and when he start today make some progress when he picked paul ryan and looked as if he was running a campaign of ideas. now, starting with the convention, and going on in some, in some speeches and in some media appearances, that enthusiasm seems to have disappeared again. he's once again just out there attacking the president on the economy and it's not working. and he's got to go out and
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offer this narrative, his own alternative narrative for what actually did happen. and he's got to convince people that the policy he has going to get frus point a to point b. not just say 12 million jobs, got to say how. talking about it in previous sessions, they rally around the president and obama may benefit politicalically from that as well. >> paul: thanks, ahead, mitt romney's failure to get specific on his tax plan and economic policies may be catching up with him. we'll look at the latest poll we'll look at the latest poll numbers and w [ thunder crashes ]
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